The Liver’s Role In The Body
The liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. Weighing about 3 pounds, the liver is reddish-brown in color and feels rubbery to the touch. Normally you can’t feel the liver, because it’s protected by the rib cage.
The liver has two large sections, called the right and the left lobes. The gallbladder sits under the liver, along with parts of the pancreas and intestines. The liver and these organs work together to digest, absorb, and process food.
The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.
Herbs For Liver Detox, Health, and Regeneration
1. Milk Thistle
Silymarin also known as Milk thistle is a flowering herb related to the daisy and ragweed family. It is native to Mediterranean countries. Some people also call it Mary thistle and holy thistle.
Milk thistle is sometimes used as a natural treatment for liver problems. These liver problems include cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.
Silymarin is the main active ingredient in milk thistle. Silymarin is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It’s unclear what benefits, if any, this may have in the body.
At this point, there is not enough scientific data to say whether or not milk thistle can help liver problems. Some early research suggests milk thistle may aid people with alcohol-related liver disease. Other studies show no improvement in liver function in this group of people.
Some studies also show milk thistle may offer a possible benefit for people whose liver is damaged by industrial toxins, such as toluene and xylene.
2. Phyllanthus Amarus
Phyllanthus is a genus of flowering plants used in herbal medicine. Commonly used in Ayurvedic healing, species like Phyllanthus emblica and Phyllanthus niruri have long been touted as a safe and effective remedy for liver disorders and a host of other medical conditions.
Phyllanthus is grown throughout the world in tropical and subtropical climates. Available as a dietary supplement, the leaves, stems, and root of the phyllanthus plant can be used to make teas, decoctions, tinctures, and extracts. Phyllanthus poultices, using fresh shoots and leaves, can also be applied to the skin to treat sores and rash.
Phyllanthus amaru is known to contain an active ingredient phyllanthin. Many research studies and clinical trials performed in the past using this plant have given contentious results which clearly accentuates the need for the standardization of the extracts.
One study used oral administration of CCl4 (a Macrophage inflammatory protein) which resulted in increased oxidative stress, decreased antioxidative defense, and liver injury. Treatment with Phyllanthus Amarus along with CCl4 significantly mitigated the increase in activities of liver marker enzymes, lipid peroxidation, and bilirubin content. It also increased the antioxidant enzymatic and non-enzymatic defense parameter levels.
Ginger is a plant with leafy stems and yellowish green flowers. The ginger spice comes from the roots of the plant. Ginger is native to warmer parts of Asia, such as China, Japan, and India, but now is grown in parts of South American and Africa. It is also now grown in the Middle East to use as medicine and with food.
Ginger is commonly used for many types of nausea and vomiting. It’s also used for menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, diabetes, migraine headaches, and other conditions.
Inflammation plays a major role in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Ginger can reduce this risk and improve your liver health.
Some studies have shown that in patients with NAFLD, the inflammatory cytokine TNF-a is an important feature in both insulin resistance and liver fibrosis. TNF-a also increases fatty acids oxidation. However, ginger supplementation has been found to significantly reduce levels of TNF-a in the body, which subsequently reduces the risk of NAFLD.
Researchers using randomized controlled clinical trials have found evidence that ginger supplementation can increase the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions such as a healthy diet and exercise on treating NAFLD.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.
Turmeric is commonly used for conditions involving pain and inflammation, such as osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a type of liver disease, and itching. Some people use turmeric for heartburn, thinking and memory skills, inflammatory bowel disease, stress, and many other conditions.
Turmeric has been getting attention recently because of its antioxidant abilities. The antioxidant effect of turmeric appears to be so powerful that it may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins. This could be good news for people who take strong drugs for diabetes or other health conditions that might hurt their liver with long-term use.
The best defense for keeping your body and major organs healthy is a good offense. Avoiding drugs and other things that can cause an inflammatory response in the body is the best way of avoiding major health issues with your organs. But as we age and the body is under constant stress it’s good to know that there are some natural supplements out there to help keep our bodies functioning properly These 4 herbs for liver health can be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program to keep your body functioning optimally.
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